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Settler security official: 'Palestinians are not supposed to stand next to Jews'

The settler media outlet Arutz Sheva reported (Hebrew) a highly “irregular” occurrence on Wednesday morning, in which a Palestinian stood next to Jewish Israelis at a hitchhiking stop near the West Bank settlement of Beit El. Avigdor Shatz, the Binyamin Regional Council’s chief security officer in the area, was quoted as saying:

Palestinians are not supposed to stand next to Jews at the same hitchhiking stop, certainly not in Beit El.

Shatz admitted that the law does not actually bar Palestinians from standing at the Givat Asaf hitchhiking stop, named after the illegal outpost nearby. “It is not defined as Israeli territory since it is outside the settlement.” However, he said it was an “irregular” and “strange” incident, and warned Israelis to keep their distance and to call the police and report such incidents. “We will get forces there to examine the suspect. Usually it is nothing.”

I guess in apartheid Israel, it’s news when a Palestinian dares to stand next to Jews.

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  • COMMENTS

    1. Aaron Gross

      I’d be scared.

      Reply to Comment
      • Haifawi

        I guess it’s even scarier when I put settler and Palestinian hitchhikers in the same car. OOOoooOOOOooooo

        Reply to Comment
    2. Vadim

      “I guess in apartheid Israel, it’s news when a Palestinian dares to stand next to Jews.”

      Your description is much more disgusting than the incident. An Arab standing close is suspicious. It will continue to be until the relations between us and our neighbors improve.

      Shatz didn’t prevent anyone from doing anything, just warned people to be careful.
      Be careful!? It’s not that people have been killed or kidnapped, what a fascist racist!

      Reply to Comment
      • Giora Me'ir

        Considering that he’s illegally there, he has no business giving “advice” as to who should stand where.

        Reply to Comment
        • Aaron Gross

          Actually, that’s a common misconception. Just because a settler lives in a settlement that was built illegally under international law, doesn’t mean that he’s there illegally. The subject who violated the Geneva Convention is the State of Israel, by establishing the settlement. The settler himself broke no law, even if he moved there from inside Israel.

          Reply to Comment
          • directrob

            Ok if an Israeli settler lives on my land I will call the police and the police would tell him to go or be arrested. If the settler would have built a construction he would be forced to take it away and return the land in the orriginal state. The Israeli government has no right to give a settler land or a house to live in. This makes the West Bank settler almost by definition an illegal squatter.

            Reply to Comment
          • Aaron Gross

            What law did the settler break? It’s clear which law the State of Israel broke by establishing the settlement: Geneva Convention (IV), Article 49. (I’m assuming the prevalent interpretation of the Convention, which is arguable.) But the settler clearly did not break that law. Maybe I’m wrong about all this; I’m not a lawyer. But if I’m wrong, could you tell me which law he broke just by being a settler? I’ll appreciate the correction.

            Reply to Comment
          • Giora Me'ir

            Just because your “superior” is responsible for the violation of the law doesn’t mean you have a legal right to be there. You might not be quilty of violation of international law, but you can be considered to be a tresspasser. There’s a difference between violating a law and having a legal right.

            And part of the remedy for violating international law in this instance is to correct the illegality. That would be removing the settlements.

            Reply to Comment
          • Aaron Gross

            Are you saying now that there exists international law against trespassing?

            I’m considering the case where the property wasn’t just stolen outright. The idea is that the only problem is, it was settled by Israel in occupied territory contrary to the Geneva Convention. If, as you say, the settler resides there illegally, then he’s violating either Israeli municipal law or international law. Which is it? International law, including the Geneva Convention, typically applies to states, not natural persons.

            Theoretically, international law could obligate Israel to remove the settler. But what is the source of such a law? The only law I know of (again, I might be wrong) is that which forbids Israel from building the settlement in the first place. Even if there is such a law, though, it would apply to Israel, not to the settler.

            Reply to Comment
          • Giora Me'ir

            So you’re saying Israel can be found in violation of international law, but the aggrieved do not have a remedy?

            If the construction and the populating of these settlements are the violation, then it follows that those who populated the settlements are the fruits of that violation. They themselves may not be liable for the violation, but the government, as the violator, has the responsibility to remove the settlements as a means of curing the violation.

            Reply to Comment
          • Aaron Gross

            I’m talking about the law. I’m asking, what’s the source of the supposed law requiring Israel to dismantle the existing settlements that were established contrary to the Geneva Convention. It’s not in the Geneva Convention itself, nor in any UN Security Council resolution, as far as I know. Where is it?

            Reply to Comment
      • un2here

        It is my understanding that the illegal and internationally condemned settlements on confiscated lands are intended to worsen relations as much as possible, so don’t complain about neighbours – nobody likes being robbed!

        Reply to Comment
      • Palestinian

        I agree, until the relations between you and the indigenous population improve,they need to ship you back to your country of origin.Your parents or grandparents shouldnt have immigrated (I’m using a polite word) to Palestine.

        Reply to Comment
        • Mitchell Cohen

          My anonymous Palestinian friend. Millions of Jews were born in Israel (many here for multiple generations), who know no other land/country, have no other passport, and many know no other language. They are NOT going anywhere. You can either come to accept that or eat your heart out and be miserable the rest of your life. No skin off my nose.

          Reply to Comment
          • Palestinian

            Khabibi Mr.Cohen, 30% of Jews in Palestine are Olim,the vast majority of Sabras are either 2nd or 3rd generation Israelis. Hundreds of thousands of Jews in Palestine have either European or North American passports, over a million Russians moved to Palestine in the 90s. 59% of Israelis had approached or intended to approach a foreign embassy to ask for citizenship and a passport.You made it sound like tens of millions of poor Israelis have been living here for centuries (what?!) and have no other place to go (what a dramatic effect).

            The problem isn’t just their existence in Palestine ,but their refusal to acknowledge their black history and our existence and rights.

            Reply to Comment
          • Mitchell Cohen

            Good try, my anonymous friend. The OVERWHELMING majority of Israelis were born here and that is all that matters. And yes, there are millions who are here for multiple generations and know no other place. And judging by your posts over the last two years, your issue isn’t with Israel/is admitting this or that, but the fact that JEWISH Israelis are here. BTW, if you are going to apply that “how many generations have you been here test?” as a condition for staying here, careful what you wish for. There are Arabs who have not been here for more than a few generations as well. Would you ship them off too?

            Reply to Comment
          • Palestinian

            Again 30% of you weren’t born here (including your president) and the vast majority of the Sabras are either 2nd or 3rd-generation Israelis. My problem is with Jews who refuse to allow the indigenous population back .Who want to keep the loot for themselves.

            Unlike the Zionist settlers,the vast majority of Palestinians who live today in Palestine have been here for at least 4 generations. For example , how many Knesset members are 3rd-generation Israelis ? …Exactly ,so maybe you should wait for few decades before you open your big Zionist mouth and pretend you are the indigenous population.

            Reply to Comment
          • Mitchell Cohen

            Palestinian, you sound like Europeans 70-80 years ago. The Jews have only been here for X amount of generations, so they are not “true” Germans, Poles, Hungarians, etc. 1) if you are going to use the “how many generations have you been here” test, then use it universally, not just on the Jews here and 2) prove to me that all the land here was “owned” by Palestinians (not just the land that their villages stood on) and then we’ll talk.

            Reply to Comment
          • Palestinian

            How many European countries are building illegal settlements outside their borders ? How many EU countries are replacing the indigenous population with thieves from everywhere.You just dont like the facts I gave .

            According to the UN landownership map ,the Palestinians own (not owned) more than 60% of Palestine (excluding Al Naqab).Israel stands today on stolen Palestinian properties.No man’s land in Egypt belongs to Egypt not Botswana.It makes sense… Unfortunately,privately owned land and no man’s land in Palestine were given to thieves from Europe.Unsurprisingly,someone like you has the audacity to argue about that denying our rights,you live in denial.

            Reply to Comment
      • sh

        That’s interesting. Do you and Aaron live over the Green Line?

        What are you scared of?

        Can it be that settlers who are protected by one of the most powerful armies in the world plus the State of Israel which is backed by the world’s only superpower and just announced it’s building a whole new bunch of apartments in Bet-El at knock-down prices,…. are scared of a hitchhiker? That such people are more fearful than those who live unprotected?
        Yes, that really is interesting. Poetic even.

        Reply to Comment
        • “That such people are more fearful than those who live unprotected?”

          There are plenty of occupation proponents who claim fear for their lives simply as a way of eliciting sympathy for their cause and cloaking their racism, and not because they’re actually afraid – ‘the boy who cried wolf’ phenomenon. (I see this a lot in people overseas.) But I think there are people in that situation who really are more fearful than those who live unprotected. I began to realise this for the first time in Hebron, when the IDF found me and two Israeli friends in the Old City, where of course they weren’t allowed to be. We’d been having a nice relaxed day, but those soldiers got in the most terrible state, flapping around like headless chickens on LSD. I remember looking at one of them as he spoke agitatedly into his radio about us and thinking to myself, “He’s armed to the teeth, but he’s more nervous than we’ve ever been.” Weapons and military strength aren’t enough to make people feel properly safe, and they could live in a huge well-protected settlement with great economic benefits and still spend far too much of their lives being uneasy and afraid.

          Reply to Comment
    3. aristeides

      Niggers aren’t supposed to stand next to white people.

      Reply to Comment
      • Aaron Gross

        I know I’ve said this before, but I’ll say it again: You don’t know what you’re talking about. You hate Israel and Israelis, but you know nothing at all about them. God knows there’s plenty not to like about them, but your hatred is based on what you hear and read, not on reality.

        Reply to Comment
        • These things aren’t so easy to separate. The most racist and militaristic people I know are by and large also the most afraid. I think the two things feed into each other.

          Reply to Comment
          • This should have gone beneath your other comment, beginning, “Israelis are cowards…” I accidentally clicked on the wrong nest.

            Reply to Comment
        • aristeides

          Aaron the mindreader, telling other people what they’re thinking.

          I’ll tell you what I do know. I know racism what I see it.

          Reply to Comment
      • JG

        Yep. But he was lucky not to wear a scaryhoodie, he could have ended like Trayvon Martin.
        Different country, same irrational racist fears.

        Reply to Comment
      • Elizabeth

        1950s Alabama racism in Israel? Really?

        Reply to Comment
    4. Giora Me'ir

      Spoken like a true Afrikaner.

      Reply to Comment
    5. Aaron Gross

      Israelis are cowards. When I lived in Jerusalem about twenty years ago, other Jerusalem residents, native-born Israelis, were shocked that I’d go into the Old City (the Jewish Quarter). They thought it was really dangerous because every few months some yeshiva student would get stabbed while walking through the Muslim Quarter.

      At the same time, people I met from Tel Aviv thought that Jerusalem was a really dangerous place, because that’s where there were terrorist attacks (usually stabbings back then). Judea, Samaria, and Gaza were out of the question.

      My point is that Israelis are real cowards, and I myself would be pretty scared in a situation like that, so I can only imagine how a cowardly Israeli would feel. This is about fear for one’s physical safety. Realistic or not, it’s physical vulnerability that’s driving this, not feelings of racism or superiority.

      Reply to Comment
      • XYZ

        Israelis are cowards, huh? How has Israel won so many wars with a conscript army?
        How about those brave New Yorkers who live in Manattan? How many go
        visit the South Bronx to show how brave they are?

        Reply to Comment
        • Aaron Gross

          It’s puzzling, I agree. You watch Israelis driving on the roads and you think, “These people do not fear death.” But one of the people who was surprised I “risked” entering the Old City was a veteran of a combat unit! I remember because it struck me as so ironic at the time. It’s paradoxical, I have no explanation.

          Reply to Comment
      • sh

        Well, I’m glad you explained, Aaron. A couple of thoughts:

        - People know fear in dangerous places the world over, but would not contact the police or anyone else for that matter each time they feel a twinge of worry. They learn to handle it like you say you do when you go to places people think may be risky.

        - Having read the Hebrew story, it’s clear that this is not apartheid after all. Shatz points out that it’s not illegal for a Palestinian to hitch a lift at that particular place.

        Ah me! ‘Tis Purim all the year round in places like Bet-El.

        Reply to Comment
      • aristeides

        Total bull.

        “Fear for one’s physical safety” is a consequence of racist attitudes. Blacks in the US – black men in particular – will tell you about walking down the street and hearing the car door locks clicking shut when whites see them. That’s what racism does. It deliberately breeds hate and fear of the other.

        Israelis may well be cowards, but that doesn’t mean they’re not first racists. Because they can’t see Palestinians as humans, they see them as fearsome monsters to be feared by the poor innocent eternal victims.

        Reply to Comment
        • Mitchell Cohen

          Aristeides the mind reader. If this Israeli is so scared of Palestinians and thinks of them all as monsters, then why do I jog on highway 60 passing the entrance to Bethlehem, as well as other Arab villages on the way w/o a gun or bullet proof vest. Guess I must have a suicide wish SIGH

          Reply to Comment
          • aristeides

            Probably because guns and bulletproof vests weigh you down and cause abrasions when you run.

            Reply to Comment
          • If you’re jogging on highway 60 then you certainly do have a suicide wish. Haven’t you seen people’s driving?! I quite appreciate being three-dimensional and not flattened, myself.

            Reply to Comment
    6. Mihai-Robert Soran

      If you call it segregation, then it’s correct. Apartheid has a pretty different meaning.
      Or would you call women asked to sit in the back of a bus being victims of apartheid?

      It’s time to use the terminology that better reflects reality instead of coloring it with ideologically infested words.

      Reply to Comment
    7. John Turnbull

      Who got the ride?

      Reply to Comment
      • sh

        The Palestinian – from a Palestinian.

        Reply to Comment
    8. Philip

      The wall with which Israel is imprisoning itself within, will only serve to further intensify the internal contradictions of this ‘state’…. and, in time, bring about it’s own self-destruction.

      Reply to Comment
    9. anonymous coward

      Hey, where’s the Google+ button?

      Not everyone uses FB

      Reply to Comment
    10. In Jim Crow America one was warned not to step over the color bar (on both sides) for fear of unleashing, well, something, not pleasant. As Aristeides, above, says, racism conditions a fear of the other. And as Vadim, above, notes, fear of violence is a product of recent history and present structural position. But fortifying that structural position will merely lead to more fear and violence (and Palestinians know what the IDF can do). You are trapped, just as South Africa was trapped. How, then, did that latter ever end?

      Reply to Comment
    11. Aaron Gross

      For those who cry “apartheid” and “racism,” imagine that an Arab were standing next to a Jew at a bus stop inside Israel? What would happen? Nothing, of course. No one would be scared, no one would think it unusual. This is not about “racism.”

      Reply to Comment
      • Firstly, few people would dispute that the regime treats West Bank Palestinians differently from how it treats Palestinians within the Green Line. This doesn’t mean that there can’t be any racism at work.

        Secondly, go to the Egged website, open up the trip planner (which you will notice is available in Hebrew, English, and Russian, but not Arabic, supposedly an official language of the country), and try to plan a journey from your home to a Palestinian community in Israel. ‘Ein yeshuvim’ comes up for most of them, even pretty sizeable places. I found this the first time I tried to go to see friends in Arrabeh. So while it might be technically possible for Palestinians to ride buses within the Green Line, in practice those buses don’t give them anything like equal service. Do you honestly not see any racial discrimination there?

        On my way from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, I often stand with Palestinians next to a group of Jews at the same bus stop. That stop has a sign detailing all the routes and numbers of buses serving Jewish communities. The Palestinian bus lines that also use that stop aren’t mentioned at all. Unless you’re telepathic, or already familiar with Palestinian communities, you’d never know where those buses go or even that they exist at all. What can be said to this? “But there’s no racism there, look, they share a pavement with Jews”?

        Finally, there have been a few incidents of drivers attempting to prevent permit-carrying Palestinians from the West Bank from boarding the bus whilst still within Israel (reported here on this site). As I wrote above, I agree with you that fear plays a part in people’s reactions to Palestinians, but fear and racism really aren’t mutually exclusive.

        Reply to Comment
        • Aaron Gross

          Vicky, my point wasn’t about equality or the lack thereof in public transportation. It was simply to show that the reaction described in this article was based on concern for physical safety, not on racial superiority or hatred.

          I agree that what you call racism (I call it racial stereotypes) is related to unrealistic fear of violence. I don’t know whether the fear in this case was realistic or not, but I do know that I would have been afraid in a similar circumstance. I do think that’s a justified fear, now, thinking about it calmly and rationally in the safety of my home.

          Reply to Comment
          • Aaron Gross

            Correction, I meant ethnic stereotypes, not racial stereotypes. For a minute you had me thinking everything’s about race.

            Reply to Comment
          • If transportation policy means that many Palestinian communities within the Green Line aren’t served by the national carrier, the result is pretty obvious: a reduction in the number of Arabs on these buses. (And yes, I have heard fear for passengers’ safety being given as an excuse why these places aren’t on the route.) I look at attitudes like that in the light of transportation policy, because it seems naive to think that there would be no interplay between the two. How do you divorce lack of equality in public services from negative perceptions of Arabs, or from racism in general? It’s all of a piece. You don’t like the word ‘apartheid’, and I think the feelings that this word provokes for you might be getting in the way of your judgment here. There were surely plenty of whites in South Africa who believed that they were liable to be slaughtered, but the genuineness of their fear didn’t cancel out the racist climate that was hothousing it by way of government policy.

            I also think that there is a risk of Palestinians with Israeli citizenship being turned into the equivalent of ‘house Negroes’ in this discussion – people who can be used to nullify criticism of the treatment of ‘field Negroes’ in the West Bank, based on the extraordinary idea that if one Arab has a vote and can board a bus then prohibitions on other Arabs doing the same can’t possibly have any significant racial component. It is not evidence against apartheid that the Israeli state has carved up the Palestinian community into several categories, with each category getting different treatment – in fact, this categorisation process was also a feature of South African apartheid (and often led to members of the same family being placed in a different ‘group’, carrying different IDs, even though to all intents and purposes they were of the same ethnicity). Israel isn’t a carbon copy of South Africa, but based on apartheid’s legal definition, then apartheid really does exist in the Occupied Territories. Within the Green Line, no, although there is a form of segregation there.

            Reply to Comment
          • Aaron Gross

            What are we disagreeing about? I’m sure that mutual attitudes between Arabs and Jews show up in lots of ways, including public transportation. I’m just not addressing that side topic here.

            I believe that there are good objective reasons for Jews to fear Palestinians, and also (as you say) that those realistic fears can become unrealistic due to stereotyping. As you say, that stereotyping is not just ethnic, it’s also geographical. Also obvious, to me at least, is that the stereotyping itself has an objective basis in reality. I still think that being scared in a situation like the one described is mostly rational and much less irrational – maybe that’s our only disagreement.

            Reply to Comment
      • aristeides

        Who would sit next to the Arab? If he wasn’t thrown off the bus.

        Reply to Comment
        • Aaron Gross

          Aristeides, I don’t know where you get your fantasy vision of Israel from, but it has little to do with the Israel that really exists on planet earth. Jews and Arabs sit next to each other on buses all the time. I don’t ride buses very often, but I’ve sat next to plenty of Arabs on the train, and I’ve never – not once – seen Arab passengers treated any differently than Jewish passengers.

          Reply to Comment
        • Mitchell Cohen

          Actually, I would Aristeides the mind reader….

          Reply to Comment
        • Aaron Gross

          Just another point about your accusation that Israeli Jews wouldn’t sit next to Arabs on buses. This illustrates how the use of words like “apartheid” contributes to lies, often unintentionally. If Israel is an “apartheid state,” then Jews wouldn’t sit next to Arabs on the bus, right?

          I’m not saying that you consciously thought that. But words like “apartheid” do give that kind of false impression, not just to people acting in bad faith, like you, but also to people acting in good faith.

          Reply to Comment
          • aristeides

            I didn’t say “apartheid” I said “racist.”

            Reply to Comment
          • Aaron Gross

            I know you didn’t say “apartheid.” I’m talking about others who do, like the author of this article. I think hearing and reading the word might cause people like you to believe, among other things, that Jews and Arabs don’t sit next to each other on buses.

            Reply to Comment
      • It is not that the fear you mention did not have a referent; but it generalizes and becomes structural and ahistorical. Take a look at some of the lynching photos in the American South, 1900-30; look at the crowd hovering around the dead. Those people lead otherwise normal lives, mostly. Once racial barriers are set up, their generating rationale is lost. As apartheid continues to grow, the rationale, the suicide bombings of 2000-5 or so (just to stop history there) will be lost; but the bars will remain.

        I have urged notice of the nonviolent movement partly because they are trying to create a new history. It is so foolish to not help them.

        Reply to Comment
      • Leen

        Actually, not entirely true. A couple of years ago, I went to the mall with my family and we were speaking in Arabic. The security officers barred us from entering the mall purely on the grounds of us being arab.

        I cannot begin to tell you the many stares I got on airplanes as well because I spoke in Arabic. The latest one which was a couple of months ago, was this Israeli family who could not stop staring, sneering and making comments in Hebrew about me and my brother. Finally my brother got up and told them to stop staring as it is rude, and ‘what you’ve never seen Arabs before?’.

        Don’t be deluded to think racism doesn’t run deep in this society.

        Reply to Comment
    12. This is so stupid. That is the reason behind Israeli-Palestinian animosity. They dehumanize each other so badly. If they went into each others homes, would they be shocked to see that they both have bathrooms in them. For where did their kids come from? That is because they are both human beings, they both use the bathroom, and they both have sex, that is why they have kids. In Czarist Russia, they dehumanized Jews so badly, that they actually believed Jewish men menstruated. Have not we become more sophisticated since that time?

      Reply to Comment
    13. annie

      i agree with Mairav. it’s astonishing this non-event can make the news in israel. i guess it’s not a non-event there. wrong person stands next to person. yikes!

      Reply to Comment
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